Speed Reads

Mueller Time

CNN's Chris Cuomo speculates that Mueller might have cleverly trapped Manafort and Trump

"The Cuomo Prime Time team burned a lot of calories to go through what we're going to do for you right now," CNN's Chris Cuomo said Tuesday night, breaking out his whiteboard to make sense of the flurry of news regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. He connected Russian intelligence's hacking of Democratic emails to Julian Assange, then to Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone. But things got more interesting when Cuomo got to Paul Manafort, President Trump's second campaign chairman.

Manafort is apparently the closest link between Assange and the Trump campaign. Trump's lawyers also acknowledged Tuesday that Manafort's lawyers were sharing information with them about Mueller's investigation after Manafort entered into a plea deal with Mueller, a deal Mueller publicly scrapped Monday, saying Manafort had continued lying to investigators.

"Here's why it's interesting," Cuomo said. "The president has now submitted his answers to Mueller. What if the answers to the questions that the president submitted with the help of Rudy Giuliani and his legal team echo a common understanding with Paul Manafort — a similar story, so to speak — that Mueller knows to be untrue?"

Marcy Wheeler, a national security reporter, is on the same page. If Mueller's team had "no doubt that Manafort was lying to them," she wrote at her Emptywheel blog Monday, "that means they didn't really need his testimony, at all ... They could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open-book test. Which increases the likelihood that Trump just submitted sworn answers to those questions full of lies."